We examined the effects of the insecticide carbaryl on larval amphibian communities in large-scale experimental ponds. Tadpoles of two anurans, Woodhouse's toad (Bufo woodhousii) and southern leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala), were reared in ponds (800 m3 volume) to determine the effects of tadpole density and carbaryl exposure on mass at metamorphosis and on time and survival to metamorphosis. Exposure to carbaryl significantly affected toads at metamorphosis, but not leopard frogs. Carbaryl exposure nearly doubled toad survival compared to controls; this effect may be attributable to an indirect effect of earbaryl increasing algal food resources. The competitive environment (i.e., density) and carbaryl exposure significantly affected the trade-off between mass and time to metamorphosis for toads. Our study is the first to demonstrate that in pond communities where predation and competition may be strong, short-lived insecticides can significantly alter the community dynamics of amphibians.
Additional publication details
Effects of an insecticide on amphibians in large-scale experimental ponds